rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
The advice is always to leave your NaNoWriMo manuscript a while and come to it with a fresh eye, possibly in January. Well, it's been longer than that for me, but I finally seem ready to look at it -- it's only the second time I've felt compelled to come back to a story, really, and try to edit it, so that's probably a very good sign. The first time was in my first year of participating, and it came to nothing, but I have hopes this time.

I'm not sure how much of the actual writing I'll keep, but it definitely helped me get to know my characters. Right now, oddly enough, I have a lot of affection for my version of Bedwyr. I mean, I like him as a man. He's extremely close to Cai, and he balances Cai in many ways, and is good for Cai. (Who is rather more the Welsh version than the French: hot-tempered, but not deliberately malicious.) He 'told me' early in the process that he was one-handed, and that turned out to be somewhat plot-relevant, so I can't really tell you about it.

Vivienne is also involving herself much more than I expected. Which makes sense, as she'll become more prominent in the later 'books', as I have it planned. As long as she stops flirting with Gawain. (Characters. What can you do?)

At the moment, there's basically six 'books'. I have no idea how long they're going to be, though. I felt like I was stretching the first book, when I was writing it for NaNoWriMo, even at 50,000 words, which is considered short. I think I'll just see how it naturally falls, plus I'll expect words to be added during editing -- my style tends toward the sparse, without work. Since I'm planning to make them into ebooks myself, not try to sell the stories to a publisher, I think it'll be much less of an issue than it might seem, as long as the pricing is fair. And it will be, since I'm still not sure I'll charge anything at all.

Anyway, I'm very happy to be back to work again, and to have my 980 words of planning and structure as well as my messy, potentially hopeless first draft. It's a beginning.

I really need a title, though.
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
A very late update, tonight. I was a bit busy, and also, my netbook doesn't display some sites very well, so I just waited to do this until I could borrow my parents' big shiny computer and play with their installation of Windows Whatever-It-Is.

It took me a loooong time to get wordcount, and my hand hurts. I'm hoping it's not typing related, and that it will be better in the morning...

My mother and I have been discussing the idea of her doing some photography to grace the cover of this particular novel, assuming I ever finish it, which feels less and less likely every day -- oh, I'll get 50,000 words, I'm the stubbornest thing you ever did see on that account, but whether I'll have the heart to keep going back, over and over, trying to fix it... Ugh.

Still, we also talked about me filling a couple of the gaps in my series of Arthurian short stories -- mostly via the addition of some kind of grail quest, although I would probably make it a quest to Caer Sidi to get the cauldron. We'll see how that goes: it might be that I offer the ten pieces as-is, given that they were written to go together and to suggest, in the gaps, the shape of what I don't tell...

In any case, my hand hurts, and I'd best be off to bed.
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Got my wordcount in the library, typing away awkwardly on my tiny little netbook, appropriately named Gawain. I'm slowly coming to terms with the realisation that I can't use much of this. But I'm getting to know my characters, and feeling out the plot, and starting to understand my world better, and that's all I really ask.

Now excuse me while I toddle off to do yoga and read more Garth Nix get an early night.

(My mood is due to a case of particularly pernicious hiccups. Ugh!)
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Today's writing went quite well, thankfully, and was easy enough to get done. Partly because Ragnelle and Guinevere both had points they wanted to make about the society they live in. My Camelot was looking a bit idyllic: they just cut it down to size, between them.

In case anyone was wondering, I elected to read Garth Nix's Mister Monday. Which I have already finished. And I'm partway through Grim Tuesday. So I really was in the right mood for those.

In fact, I think I'll go read some more, now.
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Day thirteen was... day thirteen. I backed up my novel, and eked out my wordcount during another interminable train journey. I'm currently developing the character of the victim's mother, and she is surprising me a little -- she embodies a kind of commentary about the kind of king Arthur is.

Too bad this chapter is badly overwritten and probably needs chucking, when I edit.

In lieu of more interesting content, here, an article I liked on inclusionary writing.

Day Twelve

Nov. 12th, 2010 11:43 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Today, I mostly had to catch up on stuff I've been neglecting during my week off. But I finally did, and I've even written and gamed a bit, too. Got my wordcount for the day this evening: unlike previous years, I'm very much sticking to '1667 words and then stop', every day. I have too much else to do.

Anyway, my characters continue to be gloriously disobedient, and I think Vivienne and Ragnelle might be sisters -- and that might be a spoiler, but I don't know yet if it's going to be important. I don't think so.

Now I'm going to curl up with a book! I've been rediscovering the delights of reading on my iPod Touch, but tonight is actually a dead-tree book, as it happens. (They smell so nice!)

Day Eleven

Nov. 11th, 2010 04:03 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
I've procrastinated far too much today, but I have at last got today's count. Have seriously been neglecting my studies, though, so now I shall get on with those -- once I get dressed. Oops.

(And perhaps I should tidy my room. *eyes the chaos of papers and books*)

Day Ten

Nov. 10th, 2010 09:25 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Today's been quite interesting, as I got to start writing about Merlin and Vivienne. They're not quite behaving as I expected, but I've come to anticipate that, with this story. And they're probably right that the way things are working now are more sensible.

Still, as I said on twitter, Chekhov must be a pretty careless guy. He's leaving his guns all over my story.

(Well, I thought it was funny.)

Day Nine

Nov. 9th, 2010 12:57 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Got my writing done early, today! This because I am going to go out and do outrageous things, like talk to people in the real world.

At the moment, I'm still intrigued, though, by what my characters have been setting up behind my back. First Gaheris was all worried over some issues with Gawain, and then Cai stepped out and mirrored him, with his issues with Arthur. I didn't expect that.

Gawain remains clueless, though; it's only Gaheris and Bedwyr that realise there's parallels. Oh, characters.

(Still no sign of a title. I wish it was something you could go out and hunt: I wish that somewhere there was a big cave, called, say, "The Cave of Prospective Titles", and you could go there with a butterfly net and catch one, and it would know best about what your work should be titled, and you could accept its professional judgement.)

Day Eight

Nov. 9th, 2010 02:18 am
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Today, I have been a lazy, lazy Rhian, and have only just got my wordcount for the day. Part of it is that I'm trying to get Bedwyr to talk, and he's not the talkative type -- and he's supposed to be talking to Gaheris, who is also the quiet type. This all leaves me wishing I could box their ears or something.

I planned out the chapter that will probably be written on Wednesday, and discovered that Vivienne was planning to make an appearance -- two books early! Ugh.

I'm still short a title. In fact, all potential books of the series are completely sans title. How does anyone else pick titles? I've been known to reference songs and poetry, but none occur to me for this, and it's not like a microfiction where I can pick a single concept to highlight... Ugh.

Tomorrow I'm due to see a friend during the day, and to see a concert in the evening, so I'll have to get my wordcount done in the morning. That, and work on university stuff. Erk.

Day Seven

Nov. 8th, 2010 02:09 am
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Today was mostly a day off, since I haven't been well, but I have (eventually) got stuff written. And I've finally shut Ragnelle up: I forgot how chatty she is. Good for word count, but most of it will have to hit the cutting room floor. I'm pleased that I snuck in a reference to Bisclaveret, a Breton lay that I'm thinking of doing a proper (and possibly diversified) retelling of.

In the course of messing around on the Kindle store today, I found some ebooks relevant to my interests in retelling fairytales. Or to some people's interests, anyway. There's various different collections, and they all seem to be erotica, but if that interests you, here are the two most relevant: Like a Queen: Lesbian Fairytales and Like a Prince: Gay Fairytales.

I haven't read them, so I can't speak for the quality of them, but I'm sure someone among you would be interested...

Day Six

Nov. 6th, 2010 11:54 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Delays are good for one thing: I got my writing done on the train. Ragnelle's really spinning out her story -- I'm not done yet. Realised there's a plot hole, in that Morgan is present at the telling of the story which she's in. But it doesn't have to be a plot hole: Ragnelle's not an omniscient narrator like that of the romance. A little bit of fudging, and it won't show. Right?

Today's reading ended up being Raymond Chandler. Man, that's kind of discouraging. He was not gentle even with Sayers', whose work I love...

Day Five

Nov. 5th, 2010 11:58 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Today I am not so grumpy, you may or may not be glad to know. The writing came relatively smoothly today, though I'm irritated that a part I know I will have to cut most of, if not all, is turning out to have a lot of well-written parts in it. Argh.

Suddenly, though, 50,000 words is starting to seem short. I have a problem with longer pieces, generally: I'm so used to writing microfiction that I have hell trying to write anything long. I seem to have figured something out, this time, though. I hope so.

I was worried about disliking Guinevere, but a) she is a nicer person than I'd dare hope, and b) she's funny. Yay!

I have a long train journey in my future. I will have my laptop with me, so I might write, but I do prefer to read, on trains. Hmmm...

In the interests of being useful, here is an article about six (yoga) stretches you can do at your desk. Useful to know -- will help unkink your body, and give you a few minutes break from staring at the screen.

Also, I have discovered there's a pose called King Arthur's pose. Ha.

Day Four

Nov. 4th, 2010 11:54 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Today is brought to you by a somewhat tired and grumpy Rhian. Today's writing involved the proper introduction of the women of the court, mostly Ragnelle and Guinevere, and it turns out that I rather like Guinevere after all. I was worried I wouldn't, and that she was going to be a character it'd be hard to like, but her backstory changes things somewhat.

After my post yesterday asserting that Gaheris is asexual, I realised that I'd love to write an asexual romance between Gaheris and Enide. According to the definition of courtly love that operates in a few of the texts I've read, that'd be the perfect courtly relationship -- love and duty without the distractions of sex. Hmmm.

(I should probably go and read an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' ideas on courtly love, for a class. That, however, will have to wait.)

In any case, tomorrow I get to embark on writing a version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as told by Ragnelle, from this verse. I've done that before, but that had a completely different tone. That whole chunk will be excised from the final draft of this story, probably, but it'll be good to know -- I need to know how the magic will function in the story, if at all, and how fantastical it will all be. In theory I know this already, but in practice, I think Ragnelle needs to tell me.

How's anyone else doing? Managing to get anything else done, other than writing? I'm trying to get reading -- I've been reading Joseph Hansen's Brandstetter novels, but haven't touched them so far this month, and I got a couple of new books that I'd been excited about but haven't even cracked open yet. Sigh.

Day Three

Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:57 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Today, I procrastinated a lot, did a lot of laundry (how do I wear so much?!), and eventually eked out the required word count... most of which will be cut in editing. I'm still feeling my way into the story, so I'm not unduly worried, and all of this is useful for that.

I've learnt a lot about Cai and Bedwyr, over the last few days. So far, it's been the minor characters that interest me most, which is interesting, given that Gawain is normally my main focus. It's probably a good sign that I love my subplots this much, in any case, and it's all relevant going forward into the potential other books (if I write the whole series, there will be five of them).

I always find myself wondering how much to tell people. Like the ultimate gossip, I know who all my characters are dating, but my POV character doesn't. If I don't tell you, you might figure it out for yourself, and that's awfully fun. On the other hand, you might not, and then you wouldn't know that there's an epic love affair going on behind the scenes. It reminds me of Rowling's pronouncement that Dumbledore was gay -- I didn't hallucinate that, right? -- I know who my characters are doing, but is it fair to give word of God on something that isn't actually included in the text?

For example, since I've mentioned it already, in a way: I'm pretty sure Gaheris is asexual. He just is, and he won't say so at any point in the text. I don't think he's even aware of the concept, he just knows he doesn't want a wife or any kind of lover. He's got more important things to do. As a reader myself, though, I don't really want the author stepping in and saying things are this way or that way: I have my own understanding of the characters. If I were reading it, maybe I'd desperately want to see Gaheris kidnap his brother's wife and marry her, or something. Or maybe I'd be pissed about the lack of the traditional wife and quest for him -- Enide, and his quest to prove himself a valuable knight even as a married man -- and want to write her in myself. In any case, I'd have my own ideas.

I think I've answered my own question, haven't I?

(But as a writer, I want to tell you!)


Oct. 6th, 2010 11:29 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
I come to you from the depths of deep woe with our connection! Seriously, O2 internet with a BT phoneline? Don't do it. Just don't do it.

Anyway, I haven't really said much about myself here, yet. Mostly consciously: I want to focus on writing, not on myself. Not totally consciously, though: partly it's just that I've had an online presence for about ten years now, and I'm not used to starting new. But I do have to tell you a little bit about me and what I'm up to, to tell you about my project for NaNoWriMo 2010.

I've done NaNoWriMo every year since I was fifteen, with various levels of seriousness. At fifteen, I was deadly serious. It was going to be my magnum opus, you know? Since then, I've generally been more blasé about it, sometimes even half-hearted. This year, it kinda matters again, because I've got this big idea and it's going to be a major project and people are actually (hopefully!) going to read it. It's going to be out there for public consumption. And I'm basing it on a story that means a lot to me -- a story I've always loved, with varying degrees of passion. A story that many, many people have loved, but which originated -- as best as can be made out -- from my own culture. From Wales.

(If you haven't got it yet, I'm ashamed of you.)

My story for this year is going to be based on Arthurian legend. It's not going to centre around Arthur himself, as far as I can make out, but that's pretty much a part of the tradition. The main character is going to be Gawain (Gwalchmai), probably supported mostly by his wife (Ragnelle, aka the Loathly Lady), and his brother, Gaheris. I'm going to pull from a range of sources (the earliest being Nennius and The Mabinogion!), but it's not going to be Yet Another Arthurian Retelling with damsels and so on. Instead, Gawain's presented with a rather sticky problem: he and his brothers were the only knights away from Arthur's court when a murder took place. Fingers are being pointed everywhere, and only Gawain is judged neutral enough to investigate.

The first thing I knew was that Gawain would be the detective character. I also knew that Ragnelle and Gaheris would play a part, given that I've developed both their characters in short stories and such, and fallen rather in love with them. After that, I was stumped. Who could the murderer be?

And then I stopped, again. Never mind the murderer, who is the victim? At first, I was thinking in terms of a Nameless Knight -- the medieval equivalent of a Redshirt? -- or perhaps an emissary from Rome, who would be killed for political reasons. (In various of the medieval sources, Arthur eventually conquers most of Europe, including Rome, after they remind him that he should probably be paying tribute to them.)

After that thought came the realisation that it doesn't have to be a Redshirt. Who says this has to be disconnected from the traditional path of the Arthurian canon? And so I had my murderer -- no more hints on that score, though. That's your one and only hint! My choice for the victim came a little later, when I was reading Nennius for a class. One particular character's death clicked into place as an excellent thing to use: a small reference that no one will get, unless they've read that particular source text too, but... that's the kind of thing I'd love to see, if I were reading Arthurian novels right now.

If only my title would come this easily.

I have to say, it's so handy doing a degree like English Literature in which, if I play my cards right, research for my classes means research for my novel/s. I've done a module on Crime Fiction, and now I'm doing one on Medieval Arthurian Literature. Handy!

Still working on a short story to post here. The aforesaid research has been getting in the way somewhat!


rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Rhian Crockett

August 2013



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